In this episode of Magnum JD – A not-much-class class action filed against BP by Magnum associate Eric O’Bell

Well, ringy, dingy, dingy! Bum steer and Bum Deal rang a reader’s O’Bell about the bum move by Magnum’s firm “of counsel” Eric O’Bell – a class action suit filed a few weeks before Magnum sealed his deal with BP.

O’Bell filed Greenfield et al v. BP p.l.c. et al on June 8, 2010 in U.S. Federal Court, Eastern District Louisiana, where the case was assigned to Federal District Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt. On the Complaint, O’Bell signed the Complaint on behalf of “The Law Offices of Eric O’Bell…Attorneys for the Plaintiffs”. After finding no documentation for “The Law Offices of Eric O’Bell”, I found Eric J. O’Bell, L.L.C  and double-checked the Complaint to be certain the word “Attorneys” appears in the plural. It does.

Also on the Complaint are Zwerling, Schachter & Zwerling, a New York firm and “Attorneys for the Plaintiffs” and David M. Foster, P.C., of Farmington Hills, Michigan, “Attorneys for Plaintiff Alan R. Higgs”  (Complaint in scribd format below)

On the 11th, Magnum told WWL that BP had ordered 32 of the devices he and his partner Kevin Costner were selling for use in the Gulf of Mexico; however, other sources indicate the contract was signed a week or so later.

The obvious conflict between Magnum super-sales job and the class action filed by O’Bell, like the oil spill itself, created a sticky situation – so sticky that I’m stuck trying to figure out exactly what happened. This much I know. On the face of the Complaint, O’Bell is listed as representing the Greenfield plaintiff and as co-counsel for the Higgs plaintiff, represented by New Orleans attorney Eric Nowak of Howell&Nowak L.L.C.

According to the case docket, it appears BP may have been served with the Complaint on or near the day the Company signed the contract to purchase the devices from Magnum and Costner. What I’ve yet to learn is what, if any, significance that might have with various forms of  a MOTION to Consolidate Cases and Appointing Alan R. Higgs as Lead Plaintiff and Approving His Selection of Lead and Liaison Counsel that began appearing on the docket on the 20th of July. (Motion and Exhibits in scribd format below)

The version filed on the 23rd of July by Alan R. Higgs includes O’Bell’s declaration as an Exhibit:

This declaration is submitted in support of Higgs’ motion, pursuant to Rule 42(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Section 21D(a)(3)(B) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”), as amended by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, for consolidation, appointment as Lead Plaintiff and approval of its selection of the law firm of Zwerling, Schachter & Zwerling LLP (“Zwerling, Schachter”) as Lead Counsel and O’Bell as Liaison Counsel in the above-captioned actions.

O’Bell’s Declaration references Exhibit E, his firm’s resume with his professional experience listed as:

Member, Eric J. O’Bell, L.L.C., 2004 – present
Special Counsel, Gauthier, Houghtaling, & Williams, L.L.P., 2005 – present
Associate, Calvin C. Fayard, Jr., A.P.L.C., 1993-2003

In early September, Greenfield et al v. BP p.l.c. et al was transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District Texas. Since I’m not an attorney, I can only guess that this somehow accounts for O’Bell showing as the Attorney for Higgs in another Southern District Texas case, Johnson Investment Counsel Inc v. BP PLC, et al.

Everything about Magnum and oil seems to be sticky, does it not? He also seems to be stuck on O’Bell for cover, if my memory of  O’Dell as the Notary on Magnum’s recent donation to the preservation of the New Orleans landmarks is correct.

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11 thoughts on “In this episode of Magnum JD – A not-much-class class action filed against BP by Magnum associate Eric O’Bell”

  1. Well knock me over with a feather! I guess ole Magnum never met a conflict of interest he didn’t think he could get out of or around. Calling Mr. Plattsmier, where are you?

  2. I thought Magnum represented – did legal work – for BP. I’ve heard multiple lawyers say they heard it from Magnum directly that he represents BP. How can his law firm sue BP in one case and represent them in another?

  3. anon-y-mouse, i’ve ran into these types of lawyers before they are known as Plaintiffs attorneys for the Defense, they are experts in the area of class-actions. They also never met a mis-joiner they didn’t jack.

  4. Eric has had an office of some type in the Gauthier building for at least 10 years. He worked for Calvin Fayard on several class action cases involving the Fayard and Gauthier firms.

    He “left” the Fayard firm in 2003 or so, although he may have done some work with Fayard since.

    After leaving the Fayard firm, he filed a class action lawsuit against Calvin C. Fayard, Jr. APLC in the Middle District of Louisiana. He personally sued the firm and Fayard, and he wanted to be appointed as the representative to act on behalf of the possible class members. The complaint (happy to send a copy to you if you want)alleged some irregularities in the administration and management of the Fayard employee Defined Benefit Plan & Trust. Basically, it alleged some employees of the firm were

  5. WOW ! NAAS… The SlabbedNation seems to have been in and out of everywhere…and that’s the beauty of the commentary…professionals and/or insiders with a conscience toned with experience and a moral compass to lead the way.

  6. A little more about Eric.

    In October 2010, I sent an email to Eric advising him I was going to publish an April 2005 email exchange he and I had wherein he wrote, among others things, about campaign finance instructions he received from Fayard for a US Senator.

    In his response to my October 2010 email, Eric told me that, if I published our April 2005 email exchange, he would institute the appropriate legal action against me.

  7. Kevin, you did not participate in the plan. You paid nothing into the plan. How much did you get from the plan? How much did you put into it? Who administered the plan? Wasn’t it administered by a bona fide financial entity and not the law firm at all? Do you even know? And pray tell, did you report that 1099 income? Why did you accept it? Did you not condsider yourself an independent contractor when you were a paralegal and were you not happy to get that money without withholding taxes paid from your share? Oh, excuse me, I’m so sure you were not a party to anything. By the way, how much money did you actually get for your part in the class actions settlements that came into the firm while you were there? Don’t like those nasty class action lawyers unless they share their fees with you right? Even though that’s “unethical”, did not seem to bother you to ask for it. Get over it , man, you sound like a whiny, ungrateful old geezer. This is so yesterday’s news.

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